St. Andrews is an important ground for the Addicks. Most notably was also the scene of a great escape in 1987 where cult hero Peter Shirtliff scored a late brace to preserve his club’s top flight status for another season. For that reason, it will forever be held close to some fans’ hearts.
More recently, for the younger generation, it’ll be remembered as the scene of our Championship return a little under fifteen months ago. A Leon Cort header looked to have inspired Chris Powell’s team to their first three points on the road, only for Nikola Zigic to cruelly deny them with what turned out to be the last kick of the game.
With no major changes at either club, both Birmingham and Charlton have failed to improve on their starts to last season as both languish in the bottom quarter of the table. You’d be forgiven for expecting a dull affair this weekend, especially given the Addicks recent unbeaten string of 1-1 0-0 1-0 0-0 results.
Yet, the most noticeable thing about this run is the clean sheets. Before this run, the last came away to Huddersfield in March. The last at the Valley came last November against Peterborough. Richard Wood and Jordan Cousins have proved inspired reinforcements to the back line while Lawrie Wilson has more than held his own at right back (a position in which he struggled last season).
If only the Addicks could find a matching formula up front. With Yann Kermorgant frustratingly sidelined on his return to the XI last weekend, Chris Powell must be scratching his head for ideas. Simon Church for all his effort looks generally ineffectual while Marvin Sordell, despite showing improvements when he came on last weekend, is still not delivering on his promise.
Kermorgant, alongside Richard Wood, are the injury doubts for this week. Leon Cort and two time player of the year Chris Solly are still sidelined for the foreseeable future. Marvin Sordell and Dorian Dervite are the likely replacements should they be required.
Birmingham have injury worries of their own and playing a full 120 minutes against Premier League opposition in midweek certainly won’t have done them any favours. Wade Elliot picked up a red card in that match and will be suspended for the match this weekend, while dangermen Jesse Lingard and Chris Burke are also possible misses.
Birmingham’s somewhat fragile back-line is what Chris Powell will be hoping his players can exploit. The towering presence on-loan Fulham centre back Dan Burn shouldn’t be something the Addicks fear as his mistakes have cost his club on a couple of occasions so far this season. Pressing high up the pitch may be the key to forcing mistakes out of their defenders.
I’m expecting another dull game with neither side scoring more than once. Most would be happy with another point on the road and so would I. 1-1 is my prediction for the weekend. CM
Games to watch this weekend:
Watford vs. Leicester 12:45
Nott’m Forest vs. Blackpool 15:00
QPR vs. Derby 15:00